PEMBROKE, N.C. (WBTW)- Residents of a Pembroke neighborhood say flooding that they have faced for years has gotten worse recently because of new construction. Residents say water on the road reached up the the mid-calf Thursday morning. They blame a new Cookout restaurant for the change because its parking lot is elevated, leaving runoff to flow into their neighborhood.
“Every time it rains, the water comes like a tidal wave from over here toward the Cookout,” homeowner Catherine Locklear said. She said she has paid for more than $40,000 worth of flood damage repairs in the 33 years she’s lived there. She said the flooding has always been a problem but has gotten worse with the new construction.
“I don’t like to cause trouble or anything of anybody, but we pay taxes,” homeowner Essie Evans said. “I’d just like to see it fixed. If it’s fixed and we don’t have water running over on us any more, that’d suit me just fine.” Plant growth on the sides of many houses in the neighborhood mark where the water sits. Evans jokingly refers to a massive puddle in her backyard her swimming pool.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone, I don’t want to sue anyone, I just want to be dry” Evans said. Locklear wants to see infrastructure built to deal with the runoff.
“I think they ought to put a waterline in,” Locklear said. Pembroke town manager Tyler Thomas says the Cookout’s construction was approved by the town. He said complaints about storm water have come in since before he took office. He blames the water on the grade of the neighborhood and existing infrastructure.
“Our storm water systems are not designed to immediately absorb an abnormally high level of rainfall,” Thomas said. He said Pembroke does not have a dedicated storm water department, but hopes to establish one soon.
“We’re constantly pursuing grants to fix and address storm water issues,” Thomas said. He said the Department of Transportation planned upgrades on the roads for 2023 that could help mitigate flooding. Those plans have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.